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So what's the deal with Apple's iPhone repair policy?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 16, 2012
Hi guys,

I have a question about something I’ve always wondered about, but now I actually need to know to save money. What’s the deal with Apple, AppleCare, and the Apple Store concerning Apple ‘s repair policy? All I get are contradictions: Apple says one thing, AppleCare says another, the rumormill on the internet says another, and Apple store geniuses say yet another. Just hear me out and maybe my questions at the end will make sense. Here is a timeline of events leading to my dilemma:
July 2010: I purchase an iPhone 4 without AppleCare
February 2011: I purchase my mom an iPhone 4 without AppleCare.
October, 2011: I drop my iPhone and crack the screen, but it still works so I continue to use it
November 2011: My dad drops his iPhone 4 in his coffee, making it impossible to make phone calls without using speaker phone, and the proximity sensor no longer works properly
December 2011: I purchase myself an iPhone 4S with AppleCare + protection

Yesterday: I take my broken iPhone 4 and my dad's iPhone 4 to an Apple Store. Neither phone has AppleCare, and mine is out of warranty (his was still under manufacturer warranty). I read on the internet that Apple will replace broken iPhone 4's for $199, so that’s what I expected to pay to get a new one. Since my dad’s iPhone 4 was obviously was ruined from coffee and thus warranty voided, I also expected to pay $199 for that replacement as well. So I get to the genius bar. I was shocked when the genius didn’t even bother to look down the headphone jack of my dad’s iPhone 4 to check for water damage (which he obviously would have seen since the phone was submerged in coffee!). All he did was say that replacement was going to be free under warranty. Fantastic! And then also to my amaze, I was told that the cracked iPhone 4 was only going to be $149 to replace (Instead of $199). So that’s all great.

Today: I discover my one month old, mint condition iPhone 4S's speakers aren’t working any more, and the volume button does nothing. I look down the jack and see the water sensor had been activated.

So, what should I do? Like I said, my iPhone 4S has AppleCare+, so obviously I can get a replacement for $49. But based on my experience yesterday, it seems like the smarter thing to do would be to take it in and keep my mouth shut about the water damage like I did with my dad’s iPhone 4 and AppleCare+, because if I appeal to AppleCare+, they’ll slap me with the $49 deductible. I just don’t understand what the deal is : Are Apple Store geniuses trained to have a “don’t ask don’t tell” attitude about the nature of the damage to their products? If so, then isn’t that unfair to those who purchase AppleCare+? I feel like I'm taking a gamble with my choice of words (as well as choice of Apple genius).

Thanks for any help!



macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
The OOW replacement price did drop from $199 to $149 on the iPhone 4 and older.

I wouldn't say anything and see how it goes with your 4s. Each store has a limit on the number of freebies that they're allowed to give out. AppleCare+ is still the only guaranteed way of avoiding the $199 OOW fee. And if they give you a free 4s replacement this time, it's not like you necessarily wasted your money on AppleCare+. You'll still have two uses left. :)


macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
I'd go in expecting to pay $49 for the replacement, but not saying anything if you walk out with a replacement 4S and those $49 still in your pocket.

The official policy is:

- Out of warranty iPhone 4 repairs are now $149 (down from $199)
- Out of warranty iPhone 4S repair is $199
- Applecare+ "damage due to handling" is $49 (limit 2)
- If the Genius decides it's a warranty-covered issue, it's free.

If your iPhone is out of warranty and you have a battery issue, it's $79 for their battery replacement service. But with the service, you actually stand a good chance of walking out with a "like new" replacement phone.

So let the genius make his own determinations. Don't volunteer too much info unless asked, and then just tell the truth.
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